Friday, April 18, 2014


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I mentioned in a previous post how we had recently discovered Bobbledy Books and were loving it!  We were so excited to receive the next book in our subscription!  My son has been crazy about ninjas lately as he has learned about them from other kids at school.  I am not fond of ninjas so I had to laugh when we opened the Bobbledy Books envelope and saw the title of the book.

In a series of comical vignettes, this clever book shows kids that even though it may feel as if they have it hard with all the difficult things they have to face, adults often have to face tough stuff too.

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I especially like the pages at the end of the book where children are advised all about special ninja rules that parents are sure to love!!!

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended!  Bobbledy Books has been such a find! The books are so whimsical and fun.  We always look forward to getting our subscription in the mail. You can purchase the books individually in their store. This one is $12.00.  You can buy it here.

**I do NOT receive compensation in any form for this review.  I am simply a subscriber and fan of Bobbledy Books.**

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Years ago, I read THREE JUNES and I was not a fan. I just couldn't get into it and I can't remember a single detail about the plot.  Still, I was intrigued to hear about Glass's latest book and the fact that characters from THREE JUNES would appear in it.

Kit Noonan is stuck.  He is an unemployed art historian with a wife who is quickly losing patience with him and twins that need his support. Kit's wife believes that the key to getting him "unstuck" is to find out the truth about his birth father.  Kit's quest for the story of his origins begins with his stepfather, a ski instructor in Vermont. Jasper understands all-too-well how secretive and strong-willed Kit's mother can be. She had Kit as a teenager and refused to ever reveal who his birth father was.  Though she is no longer married to Jasper, Kit hopes that he will have the key to finding out the truth. Jasper leads Kit to Lucinda and Zeke Burns who hold the answer to his origins.

This book is about family and roots.  As an adopted child, I understand these themes very well and I found Kit's search for the truth about his father very poignant. I think Glass does a wonderful job of showing how Kit's mother's decision had far-reaching consequences and affected a number of people beyond Kit. I am often very picky about endings but I particularly liked this one.  I think Glass did a wonderful job of bringing Kit full circle with his search.  She reminds us about forgiveness and how family isn't always shaped by biology.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. A beautiful and compelling story. A bit slow to get started but a wonderful read with a wonderful ending.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

If you regularly read this blog, you will already know that I am a fan of Chris Bohjalian.  The first book of his that I read was THE DOUBLE BIND and I hated it. That sounds odd coming from a fan, right?  I had a visceral reaction to it and vowed not to read another book by him. It wasn't so much the writing as the story itself.  I made a comment negative comment about Bohjalian on Twitter.  Note to self: be careful what you say publicly!  Bohjalian replied in a most gracious manner.  His publicist send me his newest book to change my mind:  THE NIGHT STRANGERS. I loved it. I have read every book since and I am constantly amazed at not only how prolific he is but also how you cannot pigeonhole him into a particular genre. He seems to reinvent himself with each book.

His latest book tells the story of teen runaway Emily Shepard. Emily's parents worked at a nuclear plant in Vermont that had a horrific meltdown.  Facing not only the loss of parents but also the painful accusations flying around that blame her family for the devastation, Emily runs away and tries to reinvent herself.  From life in a shelter to life on the streets, Emily attempts to survive.  When she meets another young runaway named Cameron, her life changes as now she has someone else to take care of. Her relationship with Cameron change the course of her life and forces her to confront the loss of her life before the meltdown.

The story itself is heart-wrenching.  Bohjalian reminds of how difficult life can be for homeless teens.  The twist to this all-too-common tale is the nuclear meltdown that precipitated Emily's fall.  I can see this book having cross-over appeal for the older young adult market.  However, the subject matter is very mature. I think one of my favorite parts of the book is the title. Bohjalian reveals in the story where he got the title and I think it fits this story beautifully.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended.  While I definitely wouldn't classify this as escapist fiction, it held my attention.  It is a sad and often heartbreaking tale but Emily is such a likeable character that you can't help but hope for the best for her.  The ending is a bit ambiguous but I really liked the book overall. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

LOVE AND TREASURE by Ayelet Waldman

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

I think Ayelet Waldman is such a gifted writer and I have been waiting for her next book for quite some time. Her latest book deals with WWII and the looting of Jewish possessions. The book opens Jack Wiseman who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  He entrusts her with a mystery that came from his time in Europe during WWII.  The book then moves back to WWII in 1945 where we meet young Jack Wiseman in Salzburg. He is in charge of cataloging the contents of the Hungarian Gold Train. When the US military took possession of the train, they discovered that it was filled with the looted possessions of Jewish people. As a Jew, Jack has conflicting emotions about the contents of the train and their disposal. During his time in Salzburg, he meets a beautiful refugee from a concentration camp and gets caught up in her story. Before his time in Salzburg is over, Jack will have taken a peacock-shaped necklace from the train. It is this necklace that he will entrust to his granddaughter in the hope that she will find its rightful owners.  The story goes back and forth between the present day and the distant past giving us a glimpse of the necklace's origins in the early 1900's.  It tells a story of love and loss and the fallout from war and crimes long past.

This book wasn't a particularly easy read but it made me think a lot about some of the ethical issues that came up with what happened during the war.  It was also interesting to see a little bit of the story of the Jews in Europe before WWII as well as the story of those Jewish people displaced by war who made their way to Israel to start a new life. The book is so intriguing but often frustrating as Waldman doesn't give us answers to many of our questions. In some ways, I kept hoping for the book to be a little more like PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Brooks or POSSESSION by Byatt.  I wanted some shocking/surprising revelations from either the story itself or research done by its characters. It never quite got there. I still enjoyed it, though.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. Waldman provides us with another well-written book filled with compelling characters and an interesting story. She proves that there are still many stories to be told about WWII.